Simon Grayson described Preston North End's performance in the win over Brighton as 'exceptional'.
The Lilywhites' 2-0 victory knocked Chris Hughton's side off the top of the Championship, inflicting their first defeat in 19 games.
Paul Huntington and Callum Robinson scored in either half, with Chris Maxwell saving a late penalty from Albion substitute Tomer Hemed.
North End manager Simon Grayson said: "We competed very well against a very strong team who I fancy to be in the top two, maybe to even win the division.
"As a team we worked hard to limit them to very few opportunities, we kept our shape and put in a disciplined performance.
"We also looked a threat as well, so overall it was a strong team performance.
"That result had been coming over the last few weeks in terms that our displays had been very good without just getting the results which were warranted.
"This was exceptional, there was the slight blip when Chris Maxwell gave the penalty away but he redeemed himself with the save.
"It was a great performance, a great atmosphere and I'm delighted to get three points."
Huntington's 13th minute header, meeting a Paul Gallagher free-kick, put North End in command.
The lead was increased early in the second half when Daryl Horgan's through ball sent Robinson clear for his seventh goal of the campaign.
Said Grayson: "The first half was pretty even but we got the lead.
"It was a good delivery from Gally and it was great to see Hunts attacking the ball in the way he did.
"The plan was always to play Aiden McGeady out wide early on, try and get on the outside of Bruno in wide positions.
"Then we felt Callum Robinson would help us defensively so we moved Geads inside to play between the lines and run at Shane Duffy and Connor Goldson.
"It was a great second goal, Daryl Horgan put in a fantastic ball over the top and it was a great finish by Callum.
"We needed that second goal to help see the game out in a correct manner against a strong team - a win was what we ultimately deserved.
"We defended extremely well as a team but the two-halves were exceptional, every time the ball went in the box they were first to it."
Grayson said that midfielder Daniel Johnson had missed the game through illness.